DRINKERS in the region are more likely to be consuming above recommended limits, putting themselves at greater risk of a range of different cancers, a charity has warned.

The warning comes from Balance as part of a hard-hitting new campaign, which launches today urging people to take action to reduce their risk of seven types of cancer by having more alcohol free days.

Sales figures show enough alcohol is being sold in the North-East for drinkers to consume 22.3 units per week on average compared to the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance which recommends no more than 14 units.

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That compares to the England and Wales average of 20.8 units sold per drinker, potentially putting people in the region at higher risk of mouth, throat, oesophagus, breast and bowel cancer.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “It is everyone’s right to know the fact that regular drinking, even one drink a day, increases your risk of some types of cancer, even if that might feel hard to accept.

“One of the problems is we have very low awareness of the risks. Many people think they are drinking moderately, but are actually in the higher risk category.”

Alcohol causes nearly a third of mouth and throat cancers, over a fifth of oesophageal cancers, over one in ten bowel cancers, nine per cent of liver cancers, one in four laryngeal cancers and six per cent of breast cancers.

Most recent data shows that nearly a third of all new cancer cases registered in the North-East, some 5,374 in 2015, were made up of these cancer types.

Amanda Healy, director of public health at Durham County Council, said: “We are encouraging people who are concerned about their drinking to consider ways to cut down. Taking more days off is a really easy and practical way which can also mean feeling healthier, losing weight and saving money.

“As a nation we are drinking far too much. This not only stores up health problems for the future for families but means people are being diagnosed with alcohol related diseases at a younger age. Children want their parents to be around and be fit and healthy when they grow up.”